Category Archives: Water

Fish traps

There are a wide variety of fish traps around Australia, the Gunditjatmara eel traps at Budj Bim, the Brewarrina Fish traps of the The town is located amid the traditional lands of the Ngemba, Muruwari and Yualwarri peoples and many up the coast of north eastern australia, as shown in this paper

Underground water Management

Aboriginal people built water tunnels

ABC Science Online
Wednesday, 15 March 2006


Rainbow serpent
The rainbow serpent, a key Aboriginal Dreamtime creation symbol, is closely connected with Indigenous knowledge of groundwater systems (Image: Reuters)

Indigenous Australians dug underground water reservoirs that helped them live on one of the world’s driest continents for tens of thousands of years, new research shows.

The study, which is the first of its kind, indicates Aboriginal people had extensive knowledge of the groundwater system, says hydrogeologist Brad Moggridge, knowledge that is still held today.

Some 70% of the continent is covered by desert or semi-arid land, which meant its original inhabitants needed to know how to find and manage this resource if they were to survive.

“Aboriginal people survived on one of the driest continents for thousands and thousands of years,” says Brad Moggridge, who is from Kamilaroi country in northern New South Wales.

“Without water you die. They managed that water sustainably.”

Moggridge, currently a principal policy officer in the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation, did his research as part of a Masters degree at the University of Technology, Sydney – see Ground water Dreaming

He based his work on oral histories, Dreamtime stories, rock art, artefacts and ceremonial body painting as well as written accounts by white missionaries, surveyors, settlers, anthropologists and explorers.

Photostory used in water management research

Using PhotoStory to capture irrigators’ emotions about water policy and sustainable development objectives: A case study in rural Australia Ganesh B Keremane, Jennifer McKay


Participatory research approaches have gained popularity within the natural resource management domain, particularly irrigation management since 1980s. Some of these methods allow the examination of values and emotions with regard to the management of natural resources and hence can supplement other ways of eliciting community responses to policy change. This article discusses the methodology and findings of an image-based participatory research project called PhotoStory. The project was conducted with members of stressed and conflicted irrigation communities in rural Australia. Participants were provided with cameras to record their views about different issues related to sustainable water management and conflicts and were also able to record their emotions and values on these topics. Findings of this project – PhotoStory – give a two-dimensional narration (visual and written) about complex issues related to water policy such as the creation of regional water allocation plans. This method answers how plans and a widespread drought have been experienced and interpreted by people living in two communities. The article concludes with some pros and cons of using this technique with an irrigation community and reflects on the use made of the work by the community and policy-makers.

Corresponding author: Ganesh B Keremane, Centre for ComparativeWater Policies and Laws and National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, School of Commerce, University of South Australia, City West Campus, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia Email: